Entering the last week of the NHL season before the Olympic break, the questions about Pavel Datsyuk not being ready to play for Team Russia in Sochi are becoming more serious.
Datsyuk didn’t travel with the Detroit Red Wings to Washington last weekend, which raised even more worries in Russia about one of the pillars of the Russian Olympic team. What are the chances we will see Datsyuk play at all this week, I asked coach Mike Babcock after Detroit’s loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday?
“I got no idea…” Babcock said. “I just watched him in practice, his one leg isn’t holding up. Obviously, Pavel wants to play for his country, and he wants to be a part of things, but you got to be healthy.”
And what are the chances he will have to miss the Olympics altogether because of injury, I asked?
“[After a pause] I am not the doctor. I don’t have a clue.” Babcock replied.
Team Russia has already had to make two changed to its Olympic roster after Sergei Soin and Denis Kokarev, both of Dynamo Moscow of the KHL, were injured. The Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin and former NHLer Alexander Svitov, who is currently playing in the KHL, have replaced them.
But losing Pavel Datsyuk will be a major blow, and the Russians have no one who comes close to being on the same level as the Magic Man.
Worrisome days ahead.
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